Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9 logoI’ve had a little bit of an opportunity to play around with Internet Explorer 9, and I’m still not sure if I like it or hate it. I am excited about the possibility of natively using some CSS3 and HTML5 in Internet Explorer, but I’m also disappointed by the lack of specific CSS3 elements.

On the plus side, IE9 does support almost all of the new CSS3 pseudo-classes (nth-child(), nth-of-type(), etc.), 2D transforms, almost the entire background module (multiple background images, background-clip, background-size, etc.), border-radius (rounded corners), box-shadow and RGBA colors.

Locating Bugs in Your Javascript Code

If you’re anything like me, you have traditionally used javascript alert boxes to try to identify and diagnose bugs in your javascript code. There are two major issues with this process, though.

  1. It’s extremely inconvenient for your users if you’re trying to debug a live application.
  2. It can be a real problem if you end up in some sort of long/infinite loop and end up outputting multiple alert boxes.

There is a better way, though, and it basically works in Internet Explorer (version 8), Firefox (with the Firebug extension installed), Chrome, Safari and Opera. This is nothing new, by any strecth of the imagination, but it still seems to be a bit of a well-kept secret for a lot of developers.

Opera Mini Confirmed for the iPhone

Mobile Safari on the iPhone will finally have some real competition. Today, Opera announced that the Opera Mini browser should be available in the iPhone App Store, for free, within the next 24 hours. This is big news. Up until this point, Safari Mobile has been basically the only real browser available for the iPhone. There are quite a few other browsers available, but they are all based on the Webkit engine (the same engine used to power Safari Mobile). Opera Mini is the first fully competitive browser to be released on the iPhone.

In addition, this will help expand Opera’s mobile market share. Although Opera has a very low adoption rate among desktop users, Opera is extremely pervasive among mobile devices. Although it’s difficult to find reliable, dependable statistics for mobile browsers, some reports indicate that Opera Mobile has the highest market share among mobile browsers (above Safari Mobile). Imagine how much stronger that hold on the market can get, now that Opera Mini will be available on the iPhone.

Microsoft Previews IE9

Today at the MIX10 Conference, Microsoft previewed Internet Explorer 9 to an apparently very receptive crowd. I watched along on Twitter as Molly Holzschlag live-tweeted from Dean Hachamovitch’s speech (the link only shows a small portion of the tweets she posted from his speech – this is also a really impressive tidbit from Molly). She seemed impressed by the demo of Internet Explorer 9, and, I have to admit, I was extremely impressed by the information she shared.

At the end of the speech, it was announced that Internet Explorer 9 is already available for download. It’s obviously far from final, but it’s really cool to see that Microsoft is moving so quickly toward releasing new browsers and embracing the standards of the Web. Microsoft is referring to the available version as a “platform preview,” which is a creative way of referring to an alpha or beta release, I think.

If you want to try Internet Explorer 9, you can download the “platform preview” from Microsoft’s Web site.

Firefox 3.6 Released

Firefox 3.6 was released today – the company notes a 20% speed improvement over version 3.5.  Apparently over 350 million users use Firefox as their browser of choice.

Here’s a list from Firefox of the new features in 3.6:

  • Personas: Personalize the look of your Firefox by selecting new themes called Personas in a single click and without a restart
  • Plugin Updater: To keep you safe from potential security vulnerabilities, Firefox will now detect out of date plugins
  • Stability improvements: Firefox 3.6 significantly decreased crashes caused by third party software – all without sacrificing our extensibility in any way
  • Form Complete: When filling out an online form, Firefox suggests information for fields based on your common answers in similar field
  • Performance: Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness, and startup time
  • Open Video and Audio: With the world’s best implementation of HTML 5 audio and video support, now video can be displayed full screen and supports poster frames

And here’s an updates list from the developer side: 

  • Support for the latest HTML5 specification, including the File API for local file handling
  • Font Support: In addition to OpenType and TrueType fonts, 3.6 now supports the new Web Open Font Format WOFF)
  • CSS gradients: Supports linear and radial CSS gradients which allow for a smoother transition between colors
  • Device orientation: Firefox 3.6 exposes the orientation of the laptop or device to Web pages

Chrome for Linux Moving Along

Google Chrome ScreenshotWithin the last few days, the development build of Google’s Chrome Web browser has made great strides toward being ready for prime time use. Within Linux Mint, at least, the browser supports plugins such as Adobe Flash fairly well, the ability to import bookmarks, history, passwords and other information from Firefox has been implemented and is working properly, and the chrome (the appearance of the window – not to be confused with the name of the browser) is now consistent with the Windows version. When maximized, the tab bar moves into the area normally used as the title bar by other programs, allowing you to use almost as much of the screen as you would in fullscreen mode with other browsers.

If you are running some version of Linux on your computer and you have not yet tested the development build of Chrome, you really should check it out. At this point, the only real issue I am experiencing is that it’s difficult to enable the plugins. I had plugins working properly for a while, but then had to make some adjustments to my Flash installation, which stopped the plugins from working within Chrome. I’m assuming, though, that once the plugins are officially supported by Chrome, they will begin working properly (which will, hopefully, be very soon).